Ann K. Miller

Ann K. Miller August 3, 1949 - April 8, 2013 Griswold - Ann K. Miller, 63, of BMW Drive, died peacefully at home on Monday April 8, 2013 surrounded by her family, following a five year battle with ovarian cancer. Born August 3, 1949, in Putnam during the presidency of Harry Truman, she was the daughter of Robert Joseph Miller who resides at Westview Health Care Center in Dayville, and Marion E.K. (Leavestrom) Miller, who predeceased Ann in 1973. After graduating from Annhurst College in Woodstock with a B.A. in Sociology, Ann joined the United States Army during the Vietnam Era. She was stationed at Fort Jackson Training Center, while working in the behavioral health clinic. Ann was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for duty above and beyond, helping to create the first rape crisis unit in the U.S. Military. Following her discharge, she continued in service to her country by joining the United States Army Reserves. Ann spent her life serving others. She dedicated herself to the field of social work, working for the State of Connecticut's Department of Developmental Services. Her advocacy for people with intellectual disabilities was strong. She worked in multiple department locations, including the former Seaside Regional Center in Waterford, the former Mansfield Training Center in Mansfield, and the former John N. Dempsey Regional Center in Putnam, until her retirement in 2003. Her tireless work helped to empower people. With the development of state run group homes, Ann and her colleagues were able to bring people out of the institution and into their own homes in local communities. These residential settings, within a family environment, allowed those who were affected with disability to live more independently. Ann often spoke of how rewarding it was to see people blossom into their full potential, which she considered a basic human right. For many years Ann, an avid animal lover, hosted a local cable access TV show called Hometown Pets, a forum for pet owners all over Eastern Connecticut to come together by calling in and sharing stories of pet ownership. Post retirement, Ann co-chaired a committee to build the first dog park in Eastern Connecticut, the Estelle Cohn Memorial Dog Park, in Norwich. In addition to being an avid animal lover, Ann was also a big fan of the UConn Huskies, the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots and she covered the Connecticut Sun for SPM Involved for many years with the agility club SNEAK, she was blessed with the many friends, neighbors, co workers she met along the way. Following her retirement from the State of Connecticut, Ann worked part time at the UConn School of Medicine, assisting medical students by assuming the role of human patient, a job she felt strongly about. She was proud to be able to assist aspiring physicians to develop keener skills in caring for patients. A lover of traveling, she and her beloved Sandy bought an RV and travelled near and far, with their dogs. Ann shared her stories, making sure to point out that she and Sandy had plenty of fun, did things together as a team, experienced life, and she always felt Sandy was her "rock". In Ann's travels she visited cousins in Sweden she was able to trace online, Brigetta and Matts, strengthening their family ties. Last year Ann fulfilled a lifelong dream by traveling to Costa Rica. Ann will be remembered for her sense of adventure, her sense of humor, her generous spirit, her advocacy for person and animal alike, her love for bird watching and her love of life. Ann is survived by her loving and supportive partner of 29 years, Sandy Brouwer, of Griswold, her daughter Katherine Duncan Meier of Mesa, Arizona, and her three grandchildren Mariah Meier, Timothy Wrenn and Leraa Meier. She is also survived by her siblings Stephen Miller of Bristol, Maria Miller of Medford, MA, Ernst Miller of Torington, Phillip Miller and his wife, Renee, of North Grosvenordale, her former sister in law and special friend, Roxanne Miller of Bristol, as well as many stepbrothers and stepsisters of the Johnston family. She leaves many nieces and nephews, Audrey Anderson and her husband, Luke, Virginia Miller, Andrew Miller, Austin Miller, Taylor Brouwer and Ryan Brouwer. In addition she is survived by her mother and father in law, Jean and Frank Brouwer, with particular thanks to Jean for all that she has done over the years and at the end of Ann's days to assist her. She also leaves with Sandy her beloved dogs Truman, Bubbles and Rocket, and Murphy the cat.A celebration of life will be held on Friday April 26, 2013 from 10:00-11:30 A.M. at the Gagne-Piechowski Funeral Home 490 Voluntown Road Jewett City, CT. There will be a presentation of military honors immediately following at the funeral home. Friends and family are invited to attend a reception at the River Ridge Golf Course following the Funeral Service. Gifts in memory of Ann can be made to the grassroots ovarian cancer organization Ann felt dearly about, CT Women of Hope, First Niagra Bank, 163 Providence Street, Putnam, CT 06260, or to an animal shelter of personal choice.

Published in Norwich Bulletin on Apr. 10, 2013